Posts Tagged ‘Best in Travel’

Kiawah Island, Roy Emerson Head List of Top 100 Tennis Resorts & Camps

May 11, 2017

Kiawah Sanctuary Aerial OceanFront B

Tennis Resorts Online has just published its annual rankings of the Top 100 Tennis Resorts and CampsKiawah Island Golf Resort on Kiawah Island in South Carolina remains in the top position among resorts, edging out a former No. 1 Rancho Valencia Resort in Rancho Santa Fe, California. Kiawah took top honors partly on the strength of its “Tennis Instruction and Programming,” both for adults and juniors. The top camp was once again the Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks program at the Gstaad Palace in Gstaad, Switzerland, which also drew raves and the No. 1 slot for “Tennis Staff”.
As in years past, these results are based on the critiques submitted over the past year by vacationers themselves. Reviewers were asked to evaluate each resort or camp in more than 20 different categories. These ranged from the quality of the tennis staff, programs, instruction, and game matching to such amenities as accommodations, cuisine, overall recreation, spa and fitness facilities, children’s programs, and more.
With all the reviews in, results are tabulated using a formula that gives added weight to tennis elements. To ensure that the final results are statistically meaningful, we require a minimum of 25 reviews to qualify for a ranking among the Top 10 resorts or Top 5 camps. We then award Gold Medals to the Top 25 Resorts and Top 10 Camps, listing them in ranking order, and Silver and Bronze medals to the remaining finalists.
Our goal is to reward the resorts and camps that truly do provide an exceptional experience for tennis players. Our formula, which emphasizes the tennis experience, ensures that the list as a whole contains a broad spectrum of vacation properties, from large, multi-dimensional resorts to intimate retreats, both in the U.S. and beyond. After all, tennis players have different tastes in tennis vacations, so any list of great resorts and camps has to reflect those differences. By making those players the arbiters of excellence, this one does.
To see the complete list, as well as the best in various categories, visit Top 100 Tennis Resorts and Camps (http://www.tennisresortsonline.com/trofiles/top-100-tennis-resorts-and-camps.cfm)

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Learn to Ski or Ride at Liftopia’s Top-Rated Beginner-Friendly Ski Areas

January 6, 2017
vt-ski-smuggs-122610_58e2-c-karen-rubin

Smugglers Notch, Vermont, came in #7 for Best Family resorts and #10 for Top Beginner Friendly in the Northeast on Liftopia’s Best in Snow Awards list © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and Liftopia, which claims to be the largest online and mobile marketplace for lift tickets and other mountain activities, has compiled a list of the top beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas across North America that are ideal for those looking to learn one of winter’s signature sports.

This list is part of Liftopia’s Best in Snow Awards, honoring North America’s most beloved ski areas. The awards, unveiled last week, feature winners across five regions and seven categories (including Beginner-Friendly and Family-Friendly) that Liftopia customers said would be most useful in helping them make the most informed decisions when choosing where to ski or snowboard, regardless of ski area size. You can find the complete list of winners along with methodology here: https://bestinsnow.liftopia.com/#/.

Some highlights:

West Coast:  California has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the West, including Tahoe Donner (first place in the family-friendly category), June, Boreal, Bear Valley, Snow Valley, Homewood, Donner Ski Ranch, Mammoth, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows and Sierra-At-Tahoe. Anthony Lakes (OR) is the #1 beginner-friendly ski area in the region.

Northeast: Bretton Woods is the #1 beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski area in the region. In addition to Bretton Woods, New Hampshire has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the Northeast, including King Pine, Cranmore, Black Mountain, Pats Peak, Ragged and Attitash.

High West: Utah is home to the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the High West, including Eagle Point (#1 Beginner-Friendly Ski Area), Sundance, Brighton, Powder, Alta, Solitude and Brian Head. In the Family Friendly category, Sipapu, NM came in #1 in the region.

Midwest: Michigan ski areas reign supreme in the Midwest, with the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas including Crystal Mountain (first place in both categories), Shanty Creek, Boyne Highlands, Caberfae, Nubs Nob and Boyne Mountain.

Southeast: West Virginia has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the Southeast, with Canaan Valley the number one Beginner Friendly and Family Friendly Ski Area in the region. Other winners include Snowshoe, Timberline Four Seasons and Winterplace.

Liftopia operates the largest online and mobile marketplace and resort technology platform serving the ski and mountain activity industry. Skiers and riders can purchase lift tickets, equipment rentals, meal vouchers and more from more than 250 ski areas in North America on Liftopia.com and via the Liftopia mobile app, with savings of up to 85% off walk-up window rates when purchased in advance. Founded in 2005, Liftopia is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by leading institutional and angel investors. Visit the Liftopia blog or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

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WalletHub Study: 2016 Best & Worst Airlines

May 21, 2016
AZ-Flagstaff_100315_04e2(c) Karen Rubin

Flying American Airlines into Flagstaff, Arizona © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

WalletHub has just announced its list of 2016’s Best & Worst Airlines in order to help consumers prepare for the busy summer travel season.

“Everyone can compare airlines based on price, but it’s much more difficult to weigh your options when it comes to other aspects of the air travel experience. WalletHub’s report therefore focuses on quantifying those aspects – delays, baggage issues, pet care, passenger comfort and more – in order to help travelers make more-informed decisions.”
Among the highlights:

  • Best & Worst Overall: Virgin America (soon to be part of Alaska Airlines) and JetBlue top the list of 2016’s best airlines, while United, American and ExpressJet are the worst.
  • Most & Least Reliable: Delta is the best airline for avoiding cancelations, delays and mishandled luggage, while ExpressJet and Envoy Air are the worst.
  • Most & Least Comfortable: JetBlue offers the most comfortable in-flight experience, while Spirit and Frontier are the least comfortable.

For the full list of 2016’s Best & Worst Airlines, visit:
http://www.wallethub.com/edu/best-airlines/20916/

For CardHub’s report on 2016’s Best & Worst Frequent Flyer Programs, visit:
http://www.cardhub.com/edu/best-frequent-flyer-program/

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Mango Bay Hotel Voted Barbados’ Leading Boutique Resort at World Travel Awards

December 24, 2014
Barbados' Mango Bay Hotel was voted Barbados' Leading Boutique Resort at the World Travel Awards.

Barbados’ Mango Bay Hotel was voted Barbados’ Leading Boutique Resort at the World Travel Awards.

Barbados’ Mango Bay Hotel (www.MangoBayBarbados.com) has been voted Barbados’ Leading Boutique Resort at the World Travel Awards™, recognizing the property’s commitment to excellence over the last 12 months.

“I speak for the entire Mango Bay team in saying that we are truly honored to be voted as Barbados’ Leading Boutique Resort,” said Peter Odle, chairman of the Mango Bay Hotel Group.  “Our team members strive for outstanding service and are eager to meet guests’ needs, something which we feel is imperative in reaching this caliber of excellence,” he continued.

The World Travel Awards™ was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the travel and tourism industry.  The annual program is renowned as the most prestigious and comprehensive in the field.

Nominations for World Travel Awards™ are based on past years’ winners, approved self-nominations and approved World Travel Awards™ commendations.  Once nominated, votes come from qualified executives working within travel and tourism and consumer travel buyers.  Votes are internally audited to ensure the validity of each individual vote.

Located in the historic Holetown area on the famed Gold Coast of Barbados, the 76-room Mango Bay Hotel is known for its sophistication and all-inclusive value. This beachfront, boutique-style property is the ideal tropical retreat for travelers seeking an escape from the everyday hustle and bustle, offering spacious accommodations, a picturesque beach, a centrally-located swimming pool and superb dining. The property is just a short walk from the posh Limegrove Lifestyle Centre, where guests can shop at global luxury retailers including Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Cartier, Michael Kors and more.

Mango Bay is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014 with discounted rates starting at US$384 per room, per night, based on double occupancy, on an all-inclusive basis when booked directly.  A Mango Bay all-inclusive vacation includes hotel accommodations, all meals, afternoon tea, all local and brand name drinks including glasses of wine, use of the on-site gym and nightly entertainment. The property is also now offering room service as well as drink and food service at the pool and the beach.  Water skiing, kayaking, snorkeling, wakeboarding, pedal boats, a glass bottom boat ride and a catamaran trip to snorkel with the turtles are also included.

For more information on Mango Bay, call 246-432-1384, email reservations@mangobaybarbados.comor, or visit www.MangoBayBarbados.com.

The 10 Most Praised Ultra-Luxury Cruise Ships in 2014 – Insider Report from CruiseCompete

December 24, 2014
Crystal Cruises has two ships in CruiseCompete's list of Top 10 Ultra-Luxury ships.

Crystal Cruises has two ships in CruiseCompete’s list of Top 10 Ultra-Luxury ships.

SeaDream I tops the Top 10 List for ultra-luxury cruise vacations, according to CruiseCompete, which analyzed reviews from thousands of cruise travelers, who provide insight into cruise lines, ships, amenities, service, dining and the destinations visited.

CruiseCompete has tabulated the ratings given to ultra-luxury cruise ship category:

 

  Line  Ship  Rating
 1. SeaDream Yacht Club  SeaDream I  5
 2. Crystal Cruises  Crystal Serenity  4.89
 3. Regent Seven Seas Cruises  Seven Seas Voyager  4.83
 4. Paul Gauguin  MS Paul Gauguin  4.81
 5. Regent Seven Seas Cruises  Seven Seas Mariner  4.78
 6. Regent Seven Seas Cruises  Seven Seas Navigator  4.75
 7. Silversea Cruises  Silver Shadow  4.57
 8. Crystal Cruises  Crystal Symphony  4.56
 9. Seabourn  Seabourn Sojourn  4.56
 10. SeaDream Yacht Club  SeaDream II 4.25

 

Read full reviews of these ships, and others, here.

Want to know more about the worldwide ports these ships visit? Read port reviews here.

One of the most significant aspects of the ultra-luxury lines is the amenities included in their cruise packages. These ships are designed to feel like floating country clubs or boutique hotels; one where a passenger’s every whim is indulged and there’s no need to keep a wallet handy for extra expenses.

To see what’s included on the Ultra-Luxury lines, click here.

To learn more about the luxury lines, or to book and Ultra-Luxury Cruise, visit www.CrusieCompete.com.

 

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Study Shows 2014’s Best and Worst Cities for Winter Holiday Travel

November 7, 2014
The festive air in New York City is one reason it is the most top domestic winter holiday destination, according to WalletHub © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The festive air in New York City is one reason it is the most top domestic winter holiday destination, according to WalletHub © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With Americans spending $53 billion every year on winter-related travel and gear and nearly a third of them planning to increase their leisure travel spending in the coming months, a leading personal finance social network, WalletHub, conducted an in-depth analysis of 2014’s Best and Worst Cities for Winter Holiday Travel. This study supplements the money-saving reports on Currency Conversion and Best Travel Credit Cards available through a sister site, CardHub.

In anticipation of the holiday season, WalletHub identified the best and worst winter travel destinations and departure points, based on 16 different metrics such as airfare costs, flight times, the number of flight connections and hotel costs.

Best US Departure Points for Domestic Travel:

  1. Atlanta, GA
  2. Salt Lake City
  3. Metrolina
  4. Valley of the Sun
  5. Denver

Best US Departure Points for International Travel

  1. Miami
  2. Atlanta
  3. Washington DC
  4. Metrolina
  5. Greater Twin Cities

Top Domestic Destinations

  1. New York
  2. Las Vegas Valley
  3. Greater Orlando
  4. Southland
  5. San Francisco

Top International Destinations

  1. Riviera Maya, Mexico
  2. Cancun, Mexico
  3. London, UK
  4. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  5. Paris France.

Here are more of the findings:

  • The best overall points of departure are Atlanta (GA), Metrolina, Miami (FL) and Greater Twin Cities.
  • The average international flight to a popular destination costs $2,318, takes 18 hours and has one connection.
  • The average domestic flight to a popular destination costs $1,056, lasts a little more than 7 hours and has 0.66 connections.
  • Despite LAX being the third-busiest airport in the U.S., California cities average a dismal ranking of No. 43 in terms of international travel affordability. This can be attributed to the popularity of European and Caribbean vacations over Asian getaways among U.S. winter travelers.
  • Atlanta (GA) is not only home to the busiest airport in the U.S. but also the most affordable East Coast departure port for winter travelers. It ranks No. 1 in terms of domestic flight affordability, No. 2 for international affordability and No. 1 overall.
  • Of the top 10 most popular winter destinations on our list, New York ranks as the No. 1 domestic destination, whereas Maui (HI), ranks last. For foreign destinations, Riviera Maya, Mexico, snags the top spot, while Sydney, Australia, falls to the bottom.

For the full report and key stats and to see where your city ranks, visit:
http://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-cities-for-winter-travel/7930/

 

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Mango Bay Hotel, Barbados Named a 2014 Family Vacation Critic Favorite

October 9, 2014
Mango Bay Barbados resort

Mango Bay Barbados resort

HOLETOWN, Barbados – Barbados’ Mango Bay Hotel (www.MangoBayBarbados.com) has been named a 2014 Family Vacation Critic Favorite in the first annual hotel awards on www.FamilyVacationCritic.com.

Of the 3,500 hotels recommended on the site, Mango Bay Hotel was one of three hotels in Barbados and 400 properties worldwide to receive the honor of Family Vacation Critic Favorite. Mango Bay is also the highest rated hotel in Barbados on the website.

The hotels receiving the title of Family Vacation Critic Favorite have met a set list of criteria, based on reviews from the site’s editors and community of family travelers.  To qualify, hotels must receive four stars or higher from the website’s editorial staff and have at least 75% of families recommend the property with four stars or higher.

Located in the historic Holetown area on the famed Gold Coast of Barbados, the 76-room Mango Bay Hotel is known for its sophistication and all-inclusive value. This beachfront, boutique-style property is an ideal tropical retreat, offering spacious accommodations, a picturesque beach, a centrally-located swimming pool and superb dining. The property is just a short walk from the posh Limegrove Lifestyle Centre, where guests can shop at global luxury retailers including Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Cartier, Michael Kors and more.

Mango Bay is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014 with discounted rates starting at $384 per room, per night, based on double occupancy, on an all-inclusive basis when booked directly.  A Mango Bay all-inclusive vacation includes hotel accommodations, all meals, afternoon tea, all local and brand name drinks including glasses of wine, use of the on-site gym and nightly entertainment. The property is also now offering room service as well as drink and food service at the pool and the beach.  Water skiing, kayaking, snorkeling, wakeboarding, pedal boats, a glass bottom boat ride and a catamaran trip to snorkel with the turtles are also included.

“We are honored to be among this list of well-respected hotels throughout the world, as it reflects the good impressions we have made on our guests,” said Peter Odle, chairman of the Mango Bay Hotel Group.  “Our dedicated staff is eager to meet guests’ needs and is pleased to receive acknowledgment for reaching this goal.”

For more information on Mango Bay, call (246) 432-1384, email reservations@mangobaybarbados.com or visit www.MangoBayBarbados.com.

 

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Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Highest in Guest Satisfaction Among Economy/Budget Hotels

July 31, 2014

Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham®—part of Wyndham Hotel Group and parent company Wyndham Worldwide—once again has been ranked highest in guest satisfaction in the economy/budget segment by J.D. Power in the 2014 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study.

Within its segment, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham ranked highest in six out seven factors measured by the study, including: reservations, check-in/check-out, guest rooms, hotel services, hotel facilities and cost and fees. This marks the 12th time in the last 13 years that Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham has been ranked highest in its segment by the study. It was previously ranked highest in its segment for 10 consecutive years between 2002 and 2011, and then again in 2013.

“Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham is a leader in the economy space thanks in large part to a focus on innovation, design and quality,” said Patrick Breen, brand senior vice president for Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham. “As a brand that regularly competes with hotels in not only in its own segment but with those in the segments above it, it’s a great honor to once again receive this distinction. My sincere gratitude goes out to our hotel owners and their staffs.  It’s their commitment to providing exceptional experiences that has allowed us to build such an enviable reputation over all these years and it’s their continued dedication that will allow us to keep raising the bar.”

With more than 310 locations throughout the U.S., Canada and the Philippines, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham is one of the few economy hotel chains that requires every hotel that joins its portfolio to be newly constructed, resulting in exceptional levels of both consistency and quality.

This summer, as part of its “Microcation” contest, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham is giving travelers the chance to win their dream getaway in the form of two million Wyndham Rewards® points. For official contest rules or to enter, visit www.facebook.com/microtel. Travelers can also save 20 percent off the best available rate when they book their own Microcation: three consecutive nights at any participating Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham hotel. For full terms and conditions or to make a reservation, visit www.microtelinn.com.

 

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Crystal Cruises Tops 2013 Condé Nast Traveler Magazine Gold List

December 29, 2012

Condé Nast Traveler magazine readers have voted Crystal Cruises first in Service, Cuisine, and Design, and #1 overall, among all small-, mid-, and large-size cruise lines in the magazine’s 2013 Gold List. Condé Nast Traveler magazine readers have voted Crystal Cruises first in Service, Cuisine, and Design, and #1 overall, among all small-, mid-, and large-size cruise lines in the magazine’s 2013 Gold List.

Condé Nast Traveler magazine readers have voted Crystal Cruises first in Service, Cuisine, and Design, and #1 overall, among all small-, mid-, and large-size cruise lines in the magazine’s 2013 Gold List. Crystal’s Service and Design scores are not only its highest ever, the ultra-luxe line was also named a “superstar” in the U.S. magazine’s “Platinum Circle” for having made the Gold List every year for the past five years running. The full list appears in the magazine’s January 2013 issue and on its website.

Crystal earned its highest scores in years in all of the seven voting categories:

  • · Service: 97.7
  • · Cuisine: 96.5
  • · Design: 96.4
  • · Itineraries: 94.5
  • · Activities: 94.2
  • · Staterooms: 91.6
  • · Shore Excursions: 88.4

“Our highest-ever scores in Design and Service — tabulated in the same year we completed our $100 million, multi-year extreme ship makeover, and made so many service and product enhancements, like All Inclusive — affirms how much our guests appreciate our eye for contemporary design and our Six Star attention to detail,” says Crystal President Gregg Michel. “We are always looking at ways to rethink our product, while still continuing to deliver the sophisticated travel experience discerning world travelers have come to expect from the Crystal brand. It’s wonderful to know guests recognize our devotion to making their vacations extraordinary in every way.”

The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List selects the “gold standard” in travel with a carefully-reviewed roll call of the “World’s Best Places to Stay” (hotels, resorts, and cruise lines).

Crystal has been rated “World’s Best” more than any other cruise line, hotel, or resort in history, with the latest Gold List honors joining several others in the line’s size category from the U.S. magazine in 2012, including the top #1 and 2 Cruise Ships, #1 Cruise Ship Spa, and Readers’ Choice for Best Cruise Line, both in the U.S. and U.K.. With two dozen awards given this year by the travel industry, trade associations, the design community, cruisers themselves, and more, 2012 has been Crystal’s most decorated in years.

Luxury cruises of 5-108 days, up to early 2015, on the line’s Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, are available in the Mediterranean, Western Europe, British Isles, Scandinavia/Baltic & Russia, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, South America, New England/Canada, Panama Canal, Caribbean, and a sumptuous World Cruise. Until December 28, all-inclusive, value-priced “Book Now” fares start at just $1,365 per person, double occupancy.

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit www.crystalcruises.com.

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Aranui III, Marquesas Islands Makes Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2011

April 27, 2011

The Marquesas Islands was recently named one of Lonely Planet's "Top 10 regions" – highlighting the Aranui III as the "umbilical cord between Tahiti and the Marquesas" (photo credit: Alain Marcouli).

Leading travel publication and go-to guide for adventure-driven escapes, Lonely Planet, recently featured the Marquesas Islands as one of its “Top 10 regions” – highlighting the Aranui III as the “umbilical cord between Tahiti and the Marquesas.”

“This distinction is an honor for us, particularly for our hard-working crew, many of whom have been introducing travelers to the Marquesas for over two decades,” said Jules Wong, marketing director for the Aranui III.

“While the cruise itself takes a backseat to the undisturbed beauty and grandeur of the seldomly visited Marquesas Islands, our local crew works diligently to ensure the onboard experience is as unique and memorable as the islands themselves,” added Wong.

The guide goes on to note the lack of swanky resorts in the Marquesas, describing the circuit – which is only accessible to travelers via the Aranui III – as “an ecotourist’s dream.”

In addition to picturesque valleys on Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa, Lonely Planet extols the Marquesan Arts Festival, which is held only once every four years (the next one is coming up in December 2011) and features indigenous dance performances, local cuisine and arts and crafts displays.

Rates for the 14-day journey on the Aranui III range from $2,079 to $5,445 per person, based on double occupancy, depending on stateroom configuration. There is a 10% surcharge for the Dec. 9 Marquesan Arts Festival departure, which includes festival admission

Rates do not include port, cruise and tourism taxes, which may total up to $350 depending on stateroom category and an $80 fuel surcharge.

The cruise includes three daily meals with complimentary wine, guided excursions outlined in the itinerary, picnic and meals on shore. Optional excursions such as scuba diving, horseback riding, fishing and helicopter tours are additional.

The Aranui 3 is a mixed passenger-cargo vessel operating between Tahiti and the Marquesas, offering comfortable, air-conditioned accommodations for about two hundred passengers. The ship features 63 tastefully designed standard cabins, nine deluxe staterooms and 14 elegantly appointed private balcony suites.

Featuring a crew primarily composed of local inhabitants from French Polynesia and the Marquesas Islands, the Aranui 3 combines world class hospitality with top-notch amenities and mesmerizing scenery for an unforgettable sailing experience.

The cruise departs from the Tahitian island of Papeete, visiting the seldomly explored lush, tropical islands of Tahuata, Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Hiva Oa, Ua Huka and Fatu Hiva, as well as Fakarava and Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Islands, before returning to Papeete.

The on-shore experiences include awe-inspiring hikes past majestic waterfalls and translucent lagoons, jungle ruins and sacred ritual sites with enigmatic petroglyphs, and encounters with local artisans.

For more information, contact Aranui at 800-972-7268 or visit www.aranui.com.